Sexual attacks on children must be tackled, says Plan
Plan is lobbying the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva this week to urgently tackle the appalling levels of rape and sexual attacks on children. It is estimated that 150,000,000 girls and 73,000,000 boys have suffered from rape or other forms of sexual violence worldwide.
Sexual violence leads to higher levels of HIV and AIDS, teenage pregnancy, physical and psychological trauma of victims. Studies have shown that threats of sexual violence can keep many children - particularly girls - out of school and increases drop-out rates.
Time for action
Plan and partners are calling for a number of measures including:
- the HRC to prohibit all forms of sexual violence against children
- stronger protection and child-friendly reporting practices
- investment in national resources such as education, preventative health care and social care and recovery
- better accountability and awareness among teachers, social workers, police, lawyers and judiciary.
Plan’s representative in Geneva Anne-Sophie Lois said: “Now, it is time for action. Governments must take responsibility to prevent and respond to these appalling violations of children’s rights. What we need is better protection and enforcement if we are to stop failing these children.”
Youths help reduce attacks
Young delegate Abigail Sogah, 17, who is a member of a Plan-supported youth group in Ghana, said in her address to the HRC that awareness-raising activities with her community and the police have reduced attacks: “Our youth group in Ghana is trying its best to combat violence against girls. Sexual abuse of girls at school and in the community is a real problem where I live and we girls are scared to become victims.
“We would like all governments to intensify law enforcement and to make sure that perpetrators are severely punished. Sensitisation of the public should also continue. Girls are exposed to sexual abuse because of how boys and men – and we and our mothers – think about us,” she said.